John Seery

Professor of Politics at Pomona College

John Seery is the George Irving Thompson Memorial Professor of Government and Professor of Politics at Pomona College, where he teaches political theory.

Okay, some of you (hi mom!) have suggested that I include a more elaborate bio on the Huffpost, so here is my stab at the customary third-person, slightly self-deprecating yet transparently self-important account of myself, cast in a factitiously triumphal register:

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a working stiff by circumstance and inclination, John Seery was a paper boy at age 11, a member of a carpenter crew at 15, and a card-carrying Teamster truck driver at 16 (while avidly playing basketball and saxophone along the way). He was graduated from Amherst College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded one of the last national Danforth Fellowships (Purina Dog Chow money that was used, in those days, to pay for the entirety of one’s graduate education, the bygone purpose of which was to support and improve the mission of teaching among the nation’s future professoriate—but such Danforth Fellowships are no more, sigh). He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to teach at Stanford University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and Tufts University before landing at Pomona College. Twice he has received Pomona College’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Prof. Seery was named the 2009 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Sidney Hook Memorial Award. In 2010-11 he served as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University. In 2013 he received the American Political Science Association's first discipline-wide Distinguished Teaching Award.

He is author of several books: Political Returns: Irony in Politics and Theory from Plato to the Antinuclear Movement (Westview, 1990); Political Theory for Mortals: Shades of Justice, Images of Death (Cornell, 1996); America Goes to College: Political Theory for the Liberal Arts (SUNY, 2002); Too Young To Run? A Proposal for an AGE Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Penn State Press, 2011); with Daniel W. Conway, is co-editor of The Politics of Irony: Essays in Self-Betrayal (St. Martins and Macmillan, 1992); and is the editor of The Political Companion to Walt Whitman(University Press of Kentucky, 2011) and George Kateb: Dignity, Morality, Individuality (Routledge, 2015). With Susan McWilliams he is co-editor of The Best Kind of College: An Insiders' Guide to America's Small Liberal Arts Colleges (forthcoming summer 2015, SUNY Press). His scholarly articles—on the works, respectively, of Aeschylus, Plato, Marx, Weber, Thomas Mann, Max Weber, Grant Wood, Judith Butler, and others—have been published in journals such as Political Theory, Theory & Event, Polity, History of Political Thought, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Soundings. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Le Monde Diplomatique, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the San Gabriel Valley Times, and the Philadelphia Independent. He has been interviewed on ABC News, MSNBC, and numerous radio broadcasts; and he appears in the documentary film, This American Gothic.

As for hands-on political experience, what there is of it: He worked briefly in DC for former U.S. Senator Dick Clark (not the American Band Stand guy); dined and danced at the White House on the occasion of Jimmy Carter’s first State of the Union address; witnessed UC Berkeley Sproul Plaza protests on a daily basis during the Reagan years, participating in more than a few; attended numerous rubber chicken fundraisers and other political events when his wife worked for a prominent California state senator; served as the founding President of the Friends of the Claremont POOCH Park; served as a City Commissioner in Claremont; and, over the years, became a grizzled veteran of many bruising academic sandbox battles, which, in retrospect, now seem petty and utterly unimportant.